Photo courtesey of doka79 via Flickr Creative Commons.

Articles about energy use and heatwaves have been showering social media in recent days. With all this talk about extreme weather conditions, many want to know about the impacts to their homes and the environment. Here’s what you need to know:

A heat wave is a period time, usually three or more days, with unusually hot weather. Temperatures must be above the historical average for a given area. For example, in July the GTA experienced temperatures over 40 degree Celsius for three days straight, which was above historical average for the GTA. With the increasing need for air conditioning in the sweltering heat, heat waves are forcing people to be more cautious with how they use energy. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Start by making small changes

Many little changes can lead to long-term benefits. For example, clean sliding doors and window edges frequently. Removing dirt and debris will create better seal so cool air can’t escape. Unplug any electronics or appliances that aren’t in use. Even though they aren’t in use, many can consume surprising amounts of power when on standby. These changes don’t cost a dime.

Tip: LED lightbulbs are more expensive than florescent bulbs. However, they last three times longer, use less energy and don’t produce high levels of heat.

Be aware of how many appliances are in use

Utilities like humidifiers, air conditioning units, pool pumps, washers and dryers can put a real drain on the electrical grid and a dent in your wallet. If you’re going to use many appliances at once, learn how much energy each one requires. That way you can make informed choices. For example, a microwave oven uses 50 per cent less energy than an electric stove. Try making use of that fabulous summer heat by hang-drying clothes and towels outside instead of using a dryer.

Learn how your wallet is being affected   

Using air conditioning during summer months has been known to increase Canadian electricity bills by up to 50 per cent. During the day, try closing blinds and curtains. Just like sitting under a shaded tree, your home will naturally cool itself.

Think beyond energy consumption

The effects of heat waves go beyond energy consumption. Here are some other things to consider:

Visit our website to learn more about climate change and the future of the environment.

Have your own practices for saving energy? Please share them in the comments section below!

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